Jump to content

Magic/Powers Categories & How They Would Work


bardic design

Recommended Posts

Hello All:

First Post of my own ;t)

Okay. This is just a question on how the BRP Gold is organized and categorized. Maybe I'm just not wrapping my mind around it. Maybe, it's too many rpgs fighting for comparison and dominance... who knows.

I guess what I'm curious about is the opinions of those that played the game as to how they feel the magic/power system works and how they view it.

In the BRP they have the

Magic Powers: Like Spell/Skills

Psychic: Kinda like Psionics or Psychogenics

Sorcery: Seems like ritual and spirit based magic

Mutations: Powers of the mind/body

Superpowers: Powers of the mind/body/spirit

The Basic Magic adds the Divine Magic Category.

In games like D&D they separated it into the class-based magic: Cleric, Druid, Magic-User, Illusionist and the other classes took from those 4 basic categories for their spell-choices.

White-Wolf divided it into Spheres and Sphere-Combinations.

Rifts had different Schools of magic based on the OCC that you chose.

DJ had different skills that allowed you to cast spells, and divided it into separate skills that you had to purchase. But there were lots of spells per that one skill that you could choose from, i.e., if you had Sorcery there were like 50 castings for that skill and you could choose like 20 or something to start with and all spell checks were done by the skill rating for the overall skill.

I guess what I'm curious is how you guys would categorize the different systems and what it would encompass.

For instance, would you categorize Necromancy into a Sorcery type category or would you make it a Magic type thing? Would it be considered a Divine Magic category if you are dealing with a god/goddess of death and the underworld (although necromancy would not really fit into the premise of most god/goddesses of the underworld and death).

I'm just curious because I like different magic systems and want to incorporate them into my games, but don't (as of yet) really know where to begin and how to begin in thinking about them.

Thanks for the help and discussion.

Don't be too harsh...I'm still super green to this system. :)

Edited by bardic design

The status quo sucks.

- George Carlin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to BRP, bardic.

As for the Power Systems: You have to be aware they are not balanced against each other. This does not mean you cannot use them all in one game, just be careful and think about how they influence your game.

As a beginner I would recommend to concentrate on one Power system and occasionally throw in parts of the other systems just to add flavour or to see how they would interact. Don't make it too hard for you to get a grasp at the system.

The monograph "Fractured Hope" makes use of all Power systems in its setting and it works out very well - but sometimes you might find some Powers are more powerful than others (in terms of cost). It depends on your group if you are comfortable with that.

The Monograph "Basic Magic" points out how you could describe magic in your world and gives some hints to integrate it. It does not offer any Power rules though, just some new options. If you are looking for a way to find a description how Powers in you game world would work, where they come from and what the benefits are, the monograph might offer some help. It covers spirit, divine and sorcerous magic, but again, it does not tell you which magic system you should use.

Be aware, Basic Magic is a reprint of the older Runequest magic chapters. So if you already own RQ, you might have a look in there before buying the monograph.

I would use one magic system as the main way to go. Occasionally I would introduce one or an other system, maybe for different cultures or maybe just to have a change. But the players should all use only one power system, to keep things simple. The way the types of magic differ is just a descriptive thing and nothing different rules wise. So Magic, Psychic, Sorcery would all use the same Power system. Mutations and Superpowers are completely different in my opinion, as they have a "on" "off" characteristic - you either have them or not, they either work or not.

I use Mutations sometimes to vary creatures in a fast way - so not every two giant snakes, scorpions, dragons, etc. are the same. It is a fast way to make encounters different, even if the basic creatures are the same.

Superpowers are a good way to let the players (even the non magic users) have some special features. But you have to limit these powers (read: do not allow every superpower) and every Superpower a PC takes has to be approved by the GM. Ah, and they cannot 'buy' more Superpowers after character creation (but maybe the GM grants some after a while of adventuring, like Sidekicks).

That's my take ;) HAve fun with the game and again, welcome to BRP :-D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello All:

First Post of my own ;t)

Okay. This is just a question on how the BRP Gold is organized and categorized. Maybe I'm just not wrapping my mind around it. Maybe, it's too many rpgs fighting for comparison and dominance... who knows.

I guess what I'm curious about is the opinions of those that played the game as to how they feel the magic/power system works and how they view it.

In the BRP they have the

Magic Powers: Like Spell/Skills

Psychic: Kinda like Psionics or Psychogenics

Sorcery: Seems like ritual and spirit based magic

Mutations: Powers of the mind/body

Superpowers: Powers of the mind/body/spirit

The Basic Magic adds the Divine Magic Category.

Pretty good summary ...

For instance, would you categorize Necromancy into a Sorcery type category or would you make it a Magic type thing? Would it be considered a Divine Magic category if you are dealing with a god/goddess of death and the underworld (although necromancy would not really fit into the premise of most god/goddesses of the underworld and death).

That depends on you. If you prefer Necromancy to be just basic spells, than it would be a Magic Power. If you want to tie it to a god/goddess, then it would be Divine Magic. And, if you wanted it to be tied to rituals and such, then it would fit under Sorcery. Really, it depends on the setting and flavor you want to give it ...

Ian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll just add two comments.

There are two different powers systems called 'sorcery'. First there is the one in the Big Gold Book which is taken from the Elric! and Stormbringer games, and secondly there is the one in Basic Magic from Chaosium's third edition Runequest. They work very differently.

I don't think any BRP games in the past have had the type of thematic 'schools' of magic you suggest. Runequest use divine magic, where each cult has a set of more or less unique spells, depending on the type of god worshipped as well as some shared by most cults. But you don't get lists of special thematic spells.

The best system for that might be Runequest Sorcery (Basic Magic monograph), but you'd have to create the schools yourself. Now, I never really used that version of sorcery myself, but the system has some issues. Essentially, a beginning sorcerer is worthless and it takes a long time to become good. Then he becomes very good indeed. Not everyone agrees, but there have been numerous fixes suggested over the years to make Basic Magic Sorcery a bit more balanced.

You should also remember there is nothing preventing a single organisation or person from using more than one power system. A school of Fire Magicians could use Spirit Magic and Sorcery from Basic Magic as well as Magic from BGB if you wanted.

Edited by jarulf
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A "beginning" Sorcerer can be useless... it depends on what you are using for a Previous Experience system. RQ III used age (2d6+15: avg. 21 years) to determine the number of points that a player had to allot: 30 points per year if you were using the buy system, or a certain number of points in specific skills if you were following a template. So using the average, yes a starting Sorcerer (age 21) would be somewhat less powerful than a 40 or 50 year old veteran Sorcerer who spent all his time focusing on his magical studies.

In the BGB, this is not something that needs to be worried about. It all depends on the Power Level of the campaign, Edu (if being used) and cultural background. A competent Sorcerer should be able to be developed at the mid to high Power Levels.

They are not represented in the BGB, but other systems that I would look at are the ones in the Elric/Stormbringer supplement The Unknown East, and the "Western" system presented in the Nephelim supplement Liber Ka. The first is somewhat freeform, the second formed around elemental "schools" or "arts".

As far as categorization of what is in the BGB, I'd have to agree with those above. They can really be categorized however you will. Determine which system you prefer based on the flavor of your campaign.

SDLeary

SDLeary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best system for that might be Runequest Sorcery (Basic Magic monograph), but you'd have to create the schools yourself. Now, I never really used that version of sorcery myself, but the system has some issues. Essentially, a beginning sorcerer is worthless and it takes a long time to become good. Then he becomes very good indeed. Not everyone agrees, but there have been numerous fixes suggested over the years to make Basic Magic Sorcery a bit more balanced.

The latest version being inside Mongoose's RuneQuest II, and very good, though quite unbalanced (damage dealing spells, for instance, need to be tuned down for use with BRP).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the responces, they helped a lot.

Once I started seeing them as different systems altogether it seems to make more sense to me.

Right now I'm on my 2nd read-though of the Gold book. Hopefully the 2nd read through will add some more insight into the system on a whole. From my first readthrough I really liked what I read.

What I was thinking of doing for my games is having there be some skill pre-requisites for spell casting abilities. I like the spell/skill rules set for fantasy games. Figure it's a good balance of only having so many spells to start and that you get better the more you use certain spells.

Aside from Basic Magic, are there any rumors or stirrings of them making a Power Compendium for BRP? I know I answered that in the poll introduced in another thread. That and a super Beast Compendium. ;D

The status quo sucks.

- George Carlin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hopefully the 2nd read through will add some more insight into the system on a whole.

Yes, I did find new stuff in that book even after having read it 4 times. It is a huge amount of rules, about 400 pages without any setting in it. This forum here clarified a lot of questiones and you might have a look at the WiKi where some more clarifications are put in.

and that you get better the more you use certain spells.

The nice thing with BRP is you get better because you are doing stuff. It is not because you "level up", that makes the difference. It is one of the strong points for me using that system.

rumors or stirrings of them making a Power Compendium for BRP?

Most new stuff comes out because of the people here in the forum develop these nice Monographs - so maybe someone feels to be nominated and is thinking about it right now ... :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aside from Basic Magic, are there any rumors or stirrings of them making a Power Compendium for BRP? I know I answered that in the poll introduced in another thread. That and a super Beast Compendium. ;D

I would dearly love a supplement that included Demon Summoning from Elric! and Corum; Contrivances, Elemental Tattoos, Fetishes and Chaotic Melds from Corum; the Virtues system from Gods of Law; the freeform Sorcery from Unknown East; the odds and ends from Bronze Grimoire; Ki skills from Land of Ninja; the ritual magic and summoning system from both Nephilim and Liber Ka; and Sorcery/Divine/Shamanism from RQ3. Get them all down in one book written with an eye to the style of the BGB.

70/420

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would dearly love a supplement that included Demon Summoning from Elric! and Corum; Contrivances, Elemental Tattoos, Fetishes and Chaotic Melds from Corum; the Virtues system from Gods of Law; the freeform Sorcery from Unknown East; the odds and ends from Bronze Grimoire; Ki skills from Land of Ninja; the ritual magic and summoning system from both Nephilim and Liber Ka; and Sorcery/Divine/Shamanism from RQ3. Get them all down in one book written with an eye to the style of the BGB.

;-D

you are talking my language brother. I personally love giant encyclopedic compendiums of just stuff that give you anything and everything that you as a GM could want in a game system. The more it hurts your back to carry around the better! Although having a pandigital eReader and a bunch of pdfs severely saves my back. ;)

I also love unorthodox castings and powers, like spellsinging, divination, mystical-based, and all that. Sure, having a wizard shoot lighting out of his arse is great, but I personally like the flair of other alterna spells and powers.

The status quo sucks.

- George Carlin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To address the main question though, I would suggest looking not so much at what the given Powers system DOES when deciding to use it, but rather HOW it does it.

Mutations - Constant Effects that cost no power points to use. These are very useful when constructing Races or Creatures with special abilities or drawbacks.

Sorcery - lots of little spells that have a relatively fixed cost and no chance of failure. Most of these spells have simple, utilitarian effects. It offers a great range for the dilettante who needs a quick skill boost or damage boost. The caster becomes a powerhouse when they start dabbling in Demon and Elemental summoning. This type of magic grants the Sorcerer access to stationary power point sources, lending to a more ritualistic feel to the bigger summoning spells.

Magic - These spells are both skill and power point based. A wizard can only focus on developing as many spells as half her Intelligence. She's likely to be a bit of a specialist but more able to dish out direct magical damage than a Sorcerer would be able to. The wizard has access to portable Power sources via Familiar and Staff.

Psychic Abilities - Skill and power point based, but not limited by INT. Not as flashy as Magic or Summoning but very useful. It also includes Psychic Combat. It doesn't take a lot of POW to fuel the Psychic skills unless the player is trying something big. Psychic Abilities increase as the Psychic increases their POW and it costs POW to gain new Psychic Skills. For this reason, I could see very effective Psychics starting out at around POW 12 or 13. This lets them do the big things, as needed and gives them plenty of room to expand their psychic skill base.

Unfortunately, I have next to zero experience with Super Powers.

Once you get a feel for 'how' the Powers rules shake out and what flavor they lend to the game, you can fit them to what you want to use them for.

70/420

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is really great advice. Thanks man.

I was thinking of making something where it had a combination of three different sources for different types of Powers in my campaign world.

Using Magic for common spells, attack/defense things like that, spellsongs, mystical spells, and the majority of other various types of castings, etc.

Psychic for innate magical powers

Sorcery (as a misnomer in this case) for things like conjuration, the summoning and ritual aspects of ecclesiastical rites/rituals/ceremonies, necromancer constructions/summonings, sorcery summonings, elementalist summonings, seances for spirit mediums, etc.

I like the skill aspect of the magic system, but I like the way that ritualistic things, when done properly have a very little chance of failing with Sorcery.

Don't know if I'm making sense though. I'm kinda tired. :o

The status quo sucks.

- George Carlin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...